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Children's Christmas Party
Saturday 5 December 2009, 11am
Holiday learning and fun, Franklin style.


Franklin and Climate Change
Thursday 3 December 2009, 6:30pm
At the start of the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Lady Joan Reid explored how Franklin's 18th century thinking touched on climate change.


Thanksgiving at Benjamin Franklin House
Wednesday 25 November 2009, 6pm
The House provided a special showing of the Historical Experience with reception for local and visiting university students.

"A Caution to the Unwary:" Quacks in Eigtheenth Century London
Monday 16 November 2009, 1pm
Sarah Chaney uncovered the helpful and rueful cures of eighteenth century medicine. Quacks and mountebanks were frequently flamboyant yet mysterious figures in 18th century medicine, advertising their "universal and infallible" remedies on posters and handbills across Franklin's London. Although believed by medicine's elite to be charlatans, preying on the unsuspecting poor, many quack remedies could be far less unpleasant than the violent emetics and purges prescribed by "regular" doctors. This illustrated talk uncovered some of the colourful characters of old London, including Bernard de Mandeville, the only surviving contemporary description of whom is by Franklin himself.


The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession, Tuesday 22 September 7.00pm

brother gardenersIn this beautifully illustrated talk, Andrea Wulf told the tale of a small group of 18th century naturalists that made England a nation of gardeners. It’s the story of a garden revolution that began when Benjamin Franklin’s good friend, the American farmer John Bartram sent hundreds of boxes filled with seeds that would transform the English landscape forever. Andrea explored the botanical passions, obsessions, friendships and squabbles that knitted together the lives of six men that changed the world of gardening and botany. The Brother Gardeners was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2008. More information can be found at www.andreawulf.com.


Herbs, Horticulture and Health: Franklin’s Botanical Pursuits
Monday 14 September, 6:30pm
House Franklin Scholar Lady Joan Reid made the case that, although Franklin wasn’t a keen gardener, he advanced botany on both sides of the Atlantic, introducing, for example, rhubarb to the colonies and certain apples to Britain.

Benjamin Franklin House Annual Symposium in Association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library
Wednesday, 9 September 2009, 6.30pm
This year we collaborated with Kew Gardens, celebrating their 250th Anniversary. Franklin and Joseph Banks, Kew’s Founder, were close friends; Paul Smith, Director of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank revealed what’s become of their mutual botanical passion.

Find out more about Kew's 250th anniversary events here.


An Audience With Polly Hewson
Every Tuesday in August at 11am and 2pm
What was life like in Georgian England? Visitors met Mrs Polly Hewson, the daughter of Franklin’s landlady, who revealed everyday life and the grander events in Franklin’s London household. ollow also in Franklin’s footsteps, re-creating one of his most famous experiments.


Monday Lunchtime Lecture 1pm
Law and Disorder: Crime and Punishment in Georgian London explores the history and cultural significance of Newgate Prison and Bedlam Asylum. By looking at the development of these centres of punishment, we can get an understanding of the social life of 18th century London and witness the birth of the modern day legal system.


The Inventive Series
Benjamin Franklin House is not your average museum.  Inspired by Benjamin Franklin's innovation and love of laughter and music, we are pleased to introduce our new Inventive Series:


Comedy Night July 22, 6.30 for 7pm start.
Robin ince and Nik Coppin test their Franklinesque wit in the unusual settings of Franklin's Parlour.

Independence Day Celebration at Benjamin Franklin HouseFranklin's home was filled with Independence Day revelers as part of our annual 4th of July celebrations!

cake


Rivers Baghdad Exhibition at Benjamin Franklin House
22 June 2009

9am - 9pm

rivers baghdadrivers bagdad

Rivers Baghdad 2009
A public artwork from the city of Baghdad with global reach made possible through technology and the human impulse to connect.

Rivers Baghdad is a public artwork on the universal theme of water, projected live from the city of Baghdad and globally streamed to private and public screens. 

On 22 June 2009 the team will host a full day exhibition, introducing and demonstrating the creative and technological processes of Rivers Baghdad. The project is curated by Meredith Gunderson, with live performance and installation by artist Theresa Caruana and technical infrastructure provided by Mixed Reality Lab.

The exhibition will include:
 

Baghdad, 2009 – An artwork which is a vast and virtual interactive map of Baghdad annotated by
(on view) the artist Theresa Caruana. Visitors can navigate an enhanced Google Earth map of the city of
Baghdad using new mobile phone technology developed in collaboration with the Mixed Reality
Lab, the UK’s leading computer science research unit.

Source Material, Rivers Baghdad, 2009 - Visitors may explore the artist’s creative process behind
RIVERS BAGHDAD through a range of material by Theresa Caruana. This body of artwork
includes collectable and unique pieces available for purchase.
(collect@riversbaghdad.com for list of works available)

 ‘Zeinab’ – London, Baghdad, 2009 A performance piece by Theresa Caruana re-enacting a
household chore of scores of women living in Baghdad as described over email by a close contact and
native citizen to Baghdad, ‘Zeinab'

There will also be three programmed presentations and interviews with the artist and the curator throughout the day at 11am, 2pm and 6pm 

This is a public exhibition - to request a downloadable invitation please email rsvp@riversbaghdad.com 

For more information contact info@riversbaghdad.com
or visit the website www.riversbaghdad.com or blog www.riversbaghdad.vox.com
follow us on twitter.com/riversbaghdad 

Franklin’s London: A Guided Walk Through18th Century Westminster

Saturday 6 June, 11am start outside Benjamin Franklin House

A walking tour covering the areas frequented by Benjamin Franklin during his time in London and Westminster.The walk encompasses places frequented by Franklin; among others Whitehall, the Royal Society of Arts and St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.The walk will finish at Benjamin Franklin House in time for the Historical Experience, the House’s innovative show. Special offer tickets for the show will be available.

Walk available here


Enlightening Friendships: Franklin and his London Milieu
Wednesday 3 June, 6:30pm
A ‘Story of London’ Programme
House Franklin Scholar Lady Joan Reid illuminates the rich exchange between Franklin and his London friends, like chemist Joseph Priestley, doctor John Pringle and publisher Peter Collinson
Red Velvet Curtain Cult, Friday May 22nd 7-10.30pm

An evening of performance, art and unusual happenings.

rvvcc


Dr. George Boudreau Lectures on Benjamin Franklin, the Junto, and the Anglo-American World of Clubs Tuesday 19 May 6pm

Dr Boudreau is Associate Professor of History & Humanities at Penn State Capital College andProject Director for "A Rising People: Benjamin Franklin and the Americans" and will be providing a fascinating Lecture on the importance of clubs and juntos to the 18th century, and specifically to Benjamin Franklin.


Franklin and Polly Hewson: A Second Daughter
Monday 18 May, 1pm
Benjamin Franklin House Founding Director Dr Márcia Balisciano argues that Franklin became a father to the daughter of his Craven Street landlady, Polly Hewson, ensuring an American destiny for her and her descendants.

Late Night at Benjamin Franklin House
Museums & Galleries at Night Friday 15 May
See the innovative Historical Experience, which makes real Franklin’s life and times at Craven Street through live performance and sound and visual projection. Shows start at 6:15 and 7:15pm.
Read more on Culture 24 here.


Saturday 16 May, The Craven Street Bones
Museums & Galleries at Night
Visit Benjamin Franklin House at night and tour the beautiful Georgian building by candlelight before enjoying a glass of wine in the basement to hear the chilling story of bodysnatchers and the Craven Street Anatomy School run by Franklin’s fellow resident William Hewson.


Comedy Night May 20,6.30 for 7pm start.
Marcel Lucont and Kiosk of Champions test their Franklinesque wit in the unusual settings of Franklin's Parlour.
Tickets £8/£5

How Georgian Britain'sWorst Husband Met His Match
Monday 20 April, 1pm
Wendy Moore reveals the story which fascinated London in Franklin’s time:  of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore. Kept a virtual prisoner, Bowes successfully dissolved her disastrous marriage to a ne’er do well fortune hunter.
£5/£3.50 Friends and Concessions. To book: call 020 7839 2006 or email info@BenjaminFranklinHouse.org


Benjamin Franklin and the Great Wall of China
Thursday 9 April, 5.30pm
The Great Wall of China was built 2,000 years ago by the Qing dynasty, as a sturdy "No Trespassing" sign to neighbouring kingdoms. For centuries, however, the wall remained neglected and forgotten, until Europeans in the 18th-century became infatuated with it. Doctor Dave Wang from St John’s University will talk discuss how Benjamin Franklin became connected with what is now one of the wonders of the world.
£5/£3.50. Book by calling 0207 839 2006 or emailing info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Half Term Events at Benjamin Franklin House

Visit the home of 18th century inventor Dr Benjamin Franklin during February half term for a host of exciting activities – have fun, make new friends, and learn about life in Georgian London!

Monday 6th April - Welcome to Benjamin Franklin House: A welcome tour of Benjamin Franklin House, a large 18th century Georgian house located in the heart of London. This will be followed by a fun and challenging scavenger hunt and trivia game.

Tuesday 8th April - Georgian Crafts at Benjamin Franklin House: A fun filled day of Georgian craft making such as whirligigs and button pulls. Come and learn how 18th century children had fun.

Wednesday 15th April- Spectacular Science at Benjamin Franklin House: An exciting day in Benjamin Franklin House’s Student Science Centre. Come learn how to make lightning or how to play a musical instrument said to drive you crazy!

Thursday 16th April - Georgian Toy Making at Benjamin Franklin House: Have you ever wondered what 18th century children played with? Come to Benjamin Franklin House to discover how to make string dolls, rope balls and more!

Friday 17th April - Georgian Sports Day at Benjamin Franklin House

Come play 18th century games as blind man’s bluff, marbles, quoits and more! Activities, aimed at 6-11 year olds, start at 10am and run for 90 minutes. With a different event happening every day, why not come for a whole week of fun? A weekly pass costs £10 per child – alternatively, daily activities are just £3 each (accompanying adults free of charge). Costs cover all equipment and craft materials, and children attending for the week will be presented with a Young Friends of Franklin certificate.


Shaping America: Franklin and the Constitution
Wednesday 25 March, 6:30pm
House Franklin scholar Lady Joan Reid reveals Franklin’s role in crafting the US constitution, one of his most enduring legacies: Franklin’s input remains particularly relevant today.

The House of Invention:
Benjamin Franklin and Scientific Change
National Science & Engineering Week
Tuesday 10 March, 12pm – 5pm
Free open day, suitable for all ages, funded by the Institute of Physics, features great Franklin Science Experiments throughout the day. Learn how Franklin tamed lightning, race canal boats and find out what can make them move faster and understand the principles of sound as you play the strange musical instrument he invented, the glass armonica. Come at any point and see where Franklin made contributions to life in the 21st century.


Fire From The Sky: Benjamin Franklin and the Lightning Rod
Monday 16 March, 1pm
House Operations Manager, Alice Kershaw, uncovers the connection between Franklin’s famous – and dangerous – discovery of lightning as “electrical fluid” and his role as a political firebrand.

Was George Washington Bled To Death?
Monday 23 February, 1pm
In honour of Washington’s birthday, 22 February 1732
House Development Manager Sarah Chaney explores whether Franklin’s friend and fellow Founding Father was bled to death, stirring up an often forgotten controversy. Allegedly drained of five pints of blood during his treatment for pneumonia, was medical negligence responsible for Washington’s untimely demise?


Fun at Benjamin Franklin House
Half Term Holiday, 16 – 20 February, 10 – 11:30am
Weekly Pass £10, Daily £3 (accompanying adults free)
Dr Benjamin Franklin’s London home is a place where 6 – 11 year olds can make new friends and explore why life in Georgian London matters today.

Monday 16 February – Time Team: An exploration of the House through an historical scavenger hunt.
Tuesday 17 February – Wonderful Whirligigs: Make 18th century toys, like whirligigs and button pulls.
Wednesday 18 February – Lightning Strikes!: In the Student Science Centre, rescue churches from destruction by lightning and invent a new musical instrument like Franklin.
Thursday 19 February – Skilful String: Georgian children could have fun with simple balls of string! Find out how.
Friday 20 February – Georgian Games: Play the 18th century games equivalent to the X Box and Wii: Blind Man’s Buff, quoits and marbles.


The Inventive Series
Benjamin Franklin House is not your average museum.  Inspired by Benjamin Franklin's innovation and love of laughter and music, we are pleased to introduce our new Inventive Series:

The Comedy Experiment
Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 7pm
Tickets £8/ £5 Friends & concessions
Comedians Nik Coppin, Terry Saunders, Mike Manera and Paul Sinha test their Franklin wit.


Gin and Vice in Georgian England: Decadence and Enlightenment

Our Monday Lecture Series kicks off with a session given by Education Manager Rob Taylor on the rise in Mother Gin and her subsequent abuse in the alleys of London in the Age of Enlightenment.

 

Fun at Benjamin Franklin House
Half Term Holiday, 16 – 20 February, 10 – 11:30am
Weekly Pass £10, Daily £3 (accompanying adults free)
Dr Benjamin Franklin’s London home is a place where 6 – 11 year olds can make new friends and explore why life in Georgian London matters today.

Monday 16 February – Time Team: An exploration of the House through an historical scavenger hunt.
Tuesday 17 February – Wonderful Whirligigs: Make 18th century toys, like whirligigs and button pulls.
Wednesday 18 February – Lightning Strikes!: In the Student Science Centre, rescue churches from destruction by lightning and invent a new musical instrument like Franklin.
Thursday 19 February – Skilful String: Georgian children could have fun with simple balls of string! Find out how.
Friday 20 February – Georgian Games: Play the 18th century games equivalent to the X Box and Wii: Blind Man’s Buff, quoits and marbles.

The Inventive Series
Benjamin Franklin House is not your average museum.  Inspired by Benjamin Franklin's innovation and love of laughter and music, we are pleased to introduce our new Inventive Series:

The Comedy Experiment
Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 7pm
Tickets £8/ £5 Friends & concessions
Comedians Nik Coppin, Terry Saunders, Mike Manera and Paul Sinha test their Franklin wit.

Gin and Vice in Georgian England: Decadence and Enlightenment

Our Monday Lecture Series kicks off with a session given by Education Manager Rob Taylor on the rise in Mother Gin and her subsequent abuse in the alleys of London in the Age of Enlightenment.

£5/£3.50. Book by calling 0207 839 2006 or emailing info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Bands at Bens

Saturday, 6 December, 7pm

Tickets £8/ £5 Friends & concessions

Acoustic music from indie groups The Melting Ice Caps and First Black Precedent.

The Franklin Cabaret

Friday, 12 December, 7pm

Tickets £10/ £6 Friends & concessions (includes a glass of wine)

Benjamin Franklin House actress Kathryn Sharrat will perform Franklin-inspired cabaret from both sides of the Atlantic. 


Craven Street Lecture

Benjamin Franklin and Espionage

4 December 2008, 6.30pm

£5, £3 concessionary rate

The last quarter of the 18th century was a turbulent time – the American War of Independence and the French Revolution in particular exacerbated international tensions. Tales of espionage were common throughout the western world, and countless prominent figures were accused, at one time or another, of spying for other nations - including Franklin himself. Was there some truth behind any of these accusations…? The UK’s foremost Franklin expert and Benjamin Franklin House trustee, Lady Joan Reid, investigates!
£5/£3 Friends & concessions

 

Monday Lecture Series

“A Day Without Dissection is a Day Wasted”:
Surgery in the 18th Century

Monday 13th October, 6pm

The eighteenth century saw a variety of changes in surgery, in particular a move from traditional training by apprenticeship to the foundation of hospital and private anatomy schools, such as Hewson’s. Despite the advances in anatomical understanding made by dissection, however, in an era before anaesthetics, surgery could still be a brutal and bloody affair…

£5/£3, not recommended for under 12s


Surgeons’ Lives

Monday 20th October, 6:30pm

Sally Frampton, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL

The lives of surgeons in the late nineteenth century - the era of such elite surgeons as Joseph Lister, James Paget, Frederick Treves and Victor Horsley - could differ greatly from Hewson’s time. Following the Anatomy Act of 1832, anatomical research and experimentation in the hospital led to further advances in surgery: the nineteenth century saw the introduction and gradual acceptance of anaesthesia and antisepsis – followed by abdominal and brain surgery. Surgeons were also increasingly accorded much wider respect, which impacted both the way they worked, and their social lives.

£5/£3, not recommended for children


William Hewson and the Craven Street Bones

Monday 27th October, 6pm

Tania Kausmally, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL

Born in Northumberland in 1739, Hewson received medical training in Newcastle-upon-Tyne before departing for London, where he attended William Hunter’s renowned anatomy school, as well as the hospital schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’. He became assistant and partner at Hunter’s school, before setting up his school at Craven Street in 1772. Hewson’s short-lived school provides a well defined snapshot of anatomical teaching prior to the Anatomy Act of 1832 when, without a legitimate source of corpses, surgeons had no choice but to turn to the infamous Bodysnatcher for supply.

£5/£3, not recommended for children


Medical London Day, Saturday 18th October

Blood, Bones & Bodies: Children’s activitieschild with skull
10:30am – 12pm

How did people in the past discover the body under the skin? Find out about important anatomists, like William Hewson, who helped us to understand how the human body works, through a series of hands-on activities: build your own skeleton, play dressing up and puzzle games, and much, much more!

FREE activities, aimed at 5-11 year olds


“A Day Without Dissection is a Day Wasted”:
Surgery in the 18th Century (adult talk)
11am – 12pm

The eighteenth century saw a variety of changes in surgery, in particular a move from traditional training by apprenticeship to the foundation of hospital and private anatomy schools, such as Hewson’s. Despite the advances in anatomical understanding made by dissection, however, in an era before anaesthetics, surgery could still be a brutal and bloody affair…

£5/£3, not recommended for under 12s


democrats and republicans abroadUS Presidential Debate in Association with the Eccles Centre

Between the Chairs of Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad; Sir Robert Worcester, founder of MORI, to moderate.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008, 7pm

£8; £5 Friends and concessions (at Conference Centre, British Library)

 

Open Rehearsal

From 26-28 October Benjamin Franklin House helped to celebrate the launch of the Cultural Olympiad by taking part in Open Rehearsal. Visitors got the opportunity to speak to 'Polly' backstage after the Historical Experience Show.

Polly speaks to the public


Benjamin Franklin House Annual Symposium in Association with the Eccles Centrerichard horton

Featuring Dr. Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, the world's number one global medical journal.  Dr. Horton is the 2007 winner of the Edinburgh Medal and will speak on Benjamin Franklin and the Globalisation of Science; tickets include reception.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008, 6:30pm - 20.30pm

£8; £5 Friends and concessions (at Conference Centre , British Library)

Dr. Richard Horton qualified in medicine from the University of Birmingham. In 1990, he joined The Lancet as an assistant editor and became Editor-in-Chief in 1995.  He was the first President of the World Association of Medical Editors and is an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, and the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a Founder Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences.  He co-chairs a WHO Scientific Advisory Group on Clinical Trials Registration and is a Council Member of the Global Forum for Health Research.

In 2007, he received the Edinburgh Medal for professional achievements judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of human health and wellbeing.  He has been a medical columnist for The Observer and writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and New York Review of Books. He published a book about controversies in modern medicine, Second Opinion, in 2003.


Benjamin Franklin and his Female Relationships

franklin and women

An Insight into Franklin’s Female Relationships whilst here in London. Given by Lady Reid, one of Britain’s foremost Franklin Scholars.

Throughout his life, Benjamin Franklin forged extremely close and long-lasting relationships with many of his female friends. In London, his landlady’s daughter Polly Stevenson (later Hewson) became a second daughter to Franklin, and a sounding-board for many of his intellectual ideas. Long letters exchanged by the pair show a mutual interest in scientific discovery, and a life-long friendship saw Polly join Franklin’s own daughter, Sally, at his deathbed. Sometimes flirtatious, frequently witty, and always engaging, Franklin’s letters to his female friends provide a comprehensive picture of the many facets of this fascinating man.

(£5 standard, £3 concession. To book, call 020 7839 2006)

Thursday, 24 September  2008, 6.30pm

Benjamin Franklin House


Meet Mrs Polly Hewson - Summer Holiday Family Days Polly

Every Tuesday in August & September 2008, 11:30am & 2:30pm

Kids go FREE! Adults only £3.50 each. All children must be accompanied.

Discover what life was like in Georgian England by meeting Mrs Polly Hewson, the daughter of Franklin’s landlady, who will guide you around the House, built 1730. Learn about everyday life in the 18th century, as well as the extraordinary story of Benjamin Franklin himself. There will also be the opportunity to follow in Franklin’s footsteps as a scientist, re-creating one of his most famous experiments, a fearsome display of the awesome power of lightning!


World Architecture Day at Benjamin Franklin HouseBFH Exterior

Benjamin Franklin House is celebrating World Architecture Day on the 6th of October 2008.

Throughout the day, we will be hosting detailed tours of one of London’s heritage gems and the efforts that have been employed to conserve its Grade I status.

The house is the sole surviving residence of Benjamin Franklin; scientist, inventor and one of the greatest  political figures of the 18th century.

Tours run at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm.

Entry: £3.50, free for children under 14.


National Archaeology Week at Benjamin Franklin House

child with skullTuesday, 15th July, 2.30pm – 6.30pm FREE

Numerous families participated in this fun-packed archaeology-related open day, A Midden Of Mystery, which was recommended by Time Out critics. Participants had the unique chance to take on the role of archaeologists and used their powers of detection to uncover more about the rich history of the house and its inhabitants.

National Archaeology Week is a national event which aims to encourage young people and families to explore the archaeological heritage of the United Kingdom. In line with the ethos of the house, this event aimed to satisfy scientific curiosity and enhance historical knowledge in an accessible and exciting way.


National Children’s Art Day

Tuesday, 1 July, 2008

Children’s Art Day encourages and inspires children to engage with art in museums.  Students will learn about 18th century portraiture in Benjamin Franklin's only remaining home and create their own works based on Georgian designs, using Franklin as a muse.  This family event is free of charge and suitable for children aged 5 to 11.   


National Design and Technology Week

Monday, 23 June until Sunday, 29 June 2008

Benjamin Franklin House is helping celebrate the UK's seventh annual Design and Technology Week, which celebrate pupils’ achievements in design and technology.  One key feature is presenting exhibitions of student work and, accordingly, Benjamin Franklin House will be showcasing student art inspired by the creative inventor, Benjamin Franklin, in our Grade I building.  Working with partner schools, we have provided all necessary materials and guidance.  Students will receive certificates and their paintings will be on exhibit throughout the summer.


american flag4 July 2008

Fourth of July cake and bubbly

Friday, 4 July 2008

Tickets £8, £5 Friends and concessions


Craven Street Lecture

An Apple A Day: Benjamin Franklin and Medicine


With Lady Joan Reid, the UK’s foremost Franklin authority

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Tickets £5 standard; £3 Friends and concessions

concordia logo

29 May 2008, 6pm - 18th Century Soiree in association with the Concordia Foundation. Concordia's talented young performers, at the start of their professional careers, will entertain with period music; tickets are £30 and include a reception (at Benjamin Franklin House)

 


uncommonplace21, 22 and 28 May 2008, 6-8pm - ‘Uncommon Place,’ a dynamic art installation featuring the work of Michael De Guzman and other artists; free entry (at Benjamin Franklin House)

 

 

 


Benjamin Franklin House Annual RSA Lecture: Heritage and Learning Beyond the Classroom

Barry Sheerman MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families, was guest speaker for the first Benjamin Franklin House-RSA Lecture in celebration of Franklin's 302nd birthday on 17 January 2008 - the start of the House's third year as a dynamic museum and educational facility.  The Royal Society of Arts was a fitting location given Franklin's membership and service to the organisation during his many years in London.

Barry, a member of Parliament since 1979, is Chair of the House of Commons committee that considers policy to improve education services and childcare in schools, colleges, and the care sector.  His theme was the importance of engaging young people with cultural heritage, in particular, the benefits for citizenship when we make the experience of key historical figures relevant to young people today. 

He has long been a fan of Benjamin Franklin and highlighted Franklin’s legacy of harnessing personal curiosity and responsibility for a greater good: whether investigating the nature of lightning and distilling his discoveries into the life and property-saving lightning rod or fostering civic institutions like schools, hospitals, and libraries.  This is a legacy, he said, that can inspire young people.

In his career, first as the head of an American studies department at a Welsh university, and then as a Parliamentarian interacting with teachers and other educational experts, Barry stated he discovered that learning outside the classroom is where real learning can take place.  He cited the educational offerings at Benjamin Franklin House as an example of a fresh approach to public education through the Historical Experience and Student Science Centre, which melds the great heritage of the site with the timeless character of the man who called it home for nearly 16 years.

Barry referenced the project he is leading to similarly spur awareness of an intriguing figure from the past through his historic former home: British environmental poet, John Clare's former cottage in Helpston, England, located in Barry's district.  His John Clare Education and Environment Trust is working to conserve the 18th century building and create an international environmental educational centre which shares Clare's respect for the environment with young people and adults.

Benjamin Franklin House Director, Marcia Balisciano, chair of the session, recognised Barry's important message with a quote: "As the historian Karl Weintraub noted, 'I doubt that the study of history provides us with simple lessons.  Its promise is less in easy lessons than in the hope of understanding and wisdom about human affairs.  It can curb our egocentrism, and perhaps it endows us with an essential sense of proportion.  …Our humanity is in its essence historical…we cultivate our humanity when we cultivate our historical sense and consciousness.'”

Listen to the Podcast

Read more about Barry Sheerman


Benjamin Franklin House Christmas Event

Kids christmas event

Ben's old home was filled with joy during the 2007 Family Holiday Day in December.  With their parents, young people listened to tales of Christmas in the 18th century, made festive decorations, and enjoyed seasonal treats!


Benjamin Franklin House Symposium

We were honoured to have Sir Harry Kroto, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, feature in this year’s Benjamin Franklin House Symposium, held in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, on 7 August.

Sir Harry was knighted in 1996 for his contributions to chemistry – with colleagues he discovered C60 Buckminsterfullerene, a new form of carbon.  Franklin would have liked the association with such a kindred spirit.  As he has noted, “I have ended up a supporter of ideologies which advocate the right of the individual to speak, think and write in freedom and safety (surely the bedrock of a civilised society).” 

He took as his theme Science, Society and Sustainability: what science is, how people, the media, politicians and others perceive science and scientists and some of the problems non-scientists have in understanding science, engineering and technology.

He began by sharing how he fell in love with science when he discovered the essence of the discipline is the "quest for beautiful patterns."  He highlighted areas he sees as essential for future research including highly sustainable technologies like solar electricity and genetic developments like seedlings that can fix their own nitrogen.  In response to a question on whether nanotechnology bodes good or ill for society, he argued that science is never intrinsically bad, "it's the use that men put to it."

He is passionate about furthering scientific understanding and established The Vega Scientific Trust and Global Educational Outreach (GEO) to allow young researchers to explain their science to young people around the world through the Internet.  Says Sir Harry, “we are pioneering new ways of using the Internet to get the next generation of children to work together to address some of humanity’s most pressing problems. After all if the future is in anyone’s hands it’s in theirs.”

2007 Benjamin Franklin House Symposium

Harry Kroto

We were honoured to have Sir Harry Kroto, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, feature in this year’s Benjamin Franklin House Symposium, held in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, on 7 August.

Sir Harry was knighted in 1996 for his contributions to chemistry – with colleagues he discovered C60 Buckminsterfullerene, a new form of carbon.  Franklin would have liked the association with such a kindred spirit.  As he has noted, “I have ended up a supporter of ideologies which advocate the right of the individual to speak, think and write in freedom and safety (surely the bedrock of a civilised society).” 

He took as his theme Science, Society and Sustainability: what science is, how people, the media, politicians and others perceive science and scientists and some of the problems non-scientists have in understanding science, engineering and technology.
Harry Kroto lecturing at the British Library
He began by sharing how he fell in love with science when he discovered the essence of the discipline is the "quest for beautiful patterns."  He highlighted areas he sees as essential for future research including highly sustainable technologies like solar electricity and genetic developments like seedlings that can fix their own nitrogen.  In response to a question on whether nanotechnology bodes good or ill for society, he argued that science is never intrinsically bad, "it's the use that men put to it."

He is passionate about furthering scientific understanding and established The Vega Scientific Trust and Global Educational Outreach (GEO) to allow young researchers to explain their science to young people around the world through the Internet.  Says Sir Harry, “we are pioneering new ways of using the Internet to get the next generation of children to work together to address some of humanity’s most pressing problems. After all if the future is in anyone’s hands it’s in theirs.”


 

4th of July at Benjamin Franklin House

Cakes in Franklin's Parlour

Benjamin Franklin House opened its doors for a special celebration on the 4th of July 2007, when we welcomed friends to the House for some Independence Day cake and bubbly.


2007 Benjamin Franklin House Science Day

On 27 April, Benjamin Franklin House held its annual Science Day at the Royal Society featuring three inner city London schools: Streatham and Clapham School, Cayley Primary School, and Kobi Nazrul Primary School. The Royal Society, a premier UK scientific academy where Benjamin Franklin was an early member, is housed in a historic building with state of the art facilities (much like Benjamin Franklin house located nearby) which delighted the young participants. They were inspired by the original portraits of famous scientists like Isaac Newton!

More than 120 pupils took part in the fun and informative sessions which highlighted some of Franklin’s most important investigations. Franklin had a deep interest in the practical application of scientific knowledge and our special guest, scientist Dr Bryson Gore, captured the children’s attention with experiments that popped, illuminated, and crackled, showing how the great man’s 18th century explorations have led to some of today’s most important technologies. As Benjamin Franklin House Education Manager, Ana Doria Buchan notes, “Franklin liked to ask questions and in his search for potential answers, he broke new ground. This spirit of enquiry, an approach central to the UK National Curriculum, enthused both the children and their teachers alike!”

Volunteers helped make the 2007 Benjamin Franklin House Science Day a success and plans are underway for the Benjamin Franklin Science Fair with local schools in June.


2007 Benjamin Franklin House Science Fair

Students from schools in the London boroughs of Newham, Southwark and Croydon will take part in the annual Benjamin Franklin House Science Fair at the Royal Society of Medicine on 25 June.

The children will be grappling with a timely question – which Franklin posed in the 18th century: How can we get more energy from less fuel? Franklin’s response led him to attempt design of more fuel-efficient stoves. His, and others that came later, are known as Franklin stoves. The children will apply their ingenuity in developing a 21st century response. They will also have the choice of a weather-related question as this subject also fascinated Franklin and played a part in his experiments with lightning and in his invention of the lightning rod.

All participants will be prize winners but the overall winner will be judged by visiting scientists on the day. The Benjamin Franklin House Science Fair satisfies our mission to engage young people in science through hands-on investigations and to conduct outreach from 36 Craven Street to the wider community.


2007 National Archaeology Week

Benjamin Franklin House will be participating in this year’s National Archaeology Week (NAW). The fit is perfect given the House’s architectural significance and archaeological importance (with more than 1000 bones found during basement conservation, remnants of an anatomy school run by the son-in-law of Franklin’s landlady). For nine days in July, children from across the UK will take part in excavations, guided tours, exhibitions, lectures, craft workshops and more.

We will open our doors to NAW participants on Tuesday, 17 July, allowing young visitors to discover more about the history of 36 Craven Street. We will be offering special activities that demonstrate how found objects give clues to the past, while emphasising such skills as research observation/recording/interpretation and team work.

 


Happy 301st Ben! Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin House!
17 January 2007

Today is the 301st anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birthday and today Benjamin Franklin House has been open to the public for one year!

Click here for the complete story


A Web of Relationships

Michael De Guzman, Benjamin Franklin House's Development Manager and resident artist until early 2007, installed a temporary sculpture comprised of over 20,000 rubber bands in Franklin's Parlour! The complex web alluded to Franklin's entanglement in 18th century diplomatic relations. It is the first in a series of temporary artistic installations to be featured at the House. Watch for future previews.

 


To book for any event email info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org or phone 0207 839 2006